Star World Competition, We Hardly Knew Ye by Craig Fuller

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Learning that the Tred Avon Yacht Club (TAYC) in Oxford would host the Star World Competition came as a delightful surprise. As an occasional sailboat racer, I knew the Star Class and just how dedicated serious sailors are about racing these boats.

The race this past week brought 62 boats from around the world into Oxford for the six-race competition. Among the racers was a friend from America’s Cup days (that’s another story), Paul Cayard. He summed up the significance of the event early on by saying, “It is an honor to sail in the Star Class because of its 100 year-old history. We are a part of the present and the older generations know about our history. But it is important that we show the younger sailors in our class how significant this is and educate them on the history that is so rich of our Class. If we don’t do it they won’t understand what they are a part of.”

As a professional sailor who has competed at the helm of America’s Cup yachts as well as in around the world competitions, today, Paul Cayard, is Star Class Vice President for the Western Hemisphere. And, he knows the class having first raced in Star competitions on the San Francisco Bay 40 years ago.

The week proved challenging, but that is what competition is all about. One day, the lack of wind cancelled racing for the day. Then, with the remains of a hurricane passing through, the wind and water were too fierce for racing.

However, by Saturday morning, four of the six races had been completed and the stage was set for the final two races.

Winds were light but building. Turns out, so was the chop on the Choptank. With strong currents and variable winds, it took more than an hour to set the course. Then, it had to be changed.

The fleet of 62 Star boats and with their two-person crews had been in the water for close to four hours before the first of two races actually was underway. The exciting day racing over almost six hours is well described by Sail World in their story released after the completion of the final racing.

The overall winner of the 2018 Star World competition proved to be Olympic Finn sailor Jorge Zarif. At 26 years old, he is the youngest World Champion since 1981 when Alex Hagen (GER) won as a skipper at the same age.

“I feel really happy! The Star is such a traditional Class full of good people and good sailors.” said Jorge Zarif. “It feels really good to have the opportunity to put my name on that trophy.”

“We had great results and of course we hoped to win.” said Paul Cayard, Vice President of the Star Class. “But Arthur and I won a race and had a second, and 3rd is a great place overall. We are always excited to have the youth in the Class, Jorge is the son of a Star sailor and Josh [Revkin] and Arthur [Lopes] are both young. What we are most interested in is seeing the next generation coming along, so to see Jorge Zarif win the Star World Championship is fantastic. It says a lot for the Star Class.”

And so, the Star Class world competition came to a close. It is one of the oldest organizations in sport history, the second oldest in sailing. It brought with it great and treasured traditions while providing a stage for a young racer to defeat the seasoned competition.

So, I enjoyed a wonderful day on the water as a spectator. Here is a short video slideshow of the experience…

Then, as the week ended and I was returning to Trippe Creek, I found myself wishing I had seen more of the racing and more of the fine people who competed. The TAYC should feel proud of hosting the competition and completing the six races in, to say the least, variable wind conditions. Many hosted racers in their homes and volunteered to work at the yacht club.

Still, it feels we missed an opportunity for the community. A class of boats that have competed for a hundred years, came here to race. Yet, on the final day, I think there were about four spectator boats on the water. To find coverage of the racing, you have to go to sailing sites on the internet. Or, of course, read The Spy!

From Paul Cayard, who started racing Stars forty years ago (and placed 3rd) to the twenty-six year-old winner of the 2018 competition, all the competitors speak of making sure young people get to know the sport and participate in sailing.

Having the Star World competition here was a very big deal….I just wish more people could have experienced the thrill of the competition and the quality of the individuals who compete for hours every day on the water in the toughest conditions we could have provided.

Thanks to all who made this possible!

I wonder, would those who organized this extraordinary event would be willing to share the excitement in some post-race discussions. There are extraordinary photographs and video. There are great Star class racers in the area that could share the excitement of participating in an international competition. Perhaps after the fact, more people can find a way to touch the thrill of Star class racing. Just a thought….

Aside for what you usually share with people….

Craig Fuller is known for his national political experience, but sailing started for him with an uncle and cousins who raced in Newport Beach, California. It continued as he crewed on a cruising class sailboat while in college at UCLA. He has raced sail boats in the British Virgin Islands and was a very active sponsor of America’s Cup racing in the 1990s. Now, he is a frequent spectator and photographer during local race events. He resides with Karen in their home on Trippe Creek.

 

 

The Last Word by George Merrill

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I will soon have lived four score and four years. I only started reading the obituaries about five years ago. Friends much my junior have been reading them for years. I suppose I felt it was time for me to learn something about what people who were dead had thought about themselves when they were not dead (if the deceased wrote the obituary beforehand – not uncommon) or what relatives (having composed it post mortem) were thinking about the deceased while he or she was still among the living.

However, if you want an in-depth profile of anyone, an obituary is not the place to look. I say that sympathetically.  Decency dictates that this is not the time for being critical but also, practically speaking, it’s best to let bygones be bygones since nothing can come of it anyway now that the curtain has fallen on the final act. No one is as perfect as they’re portrayed in an obituary or a eulogy. On the other hand, no one can, in just a few paragraphs sketch the complexities of an entire lifetime.

I’ve wondered about obituaries. The other day, when I decided I would write my own, my mixed feelings surprised me.

However, instead of my obituary, I first went gently into that dark night by planning my own funeral service. I pinned it down to specifics:  poems, scripture reading, prayers, hymns and music that I would like to have read, sung or played. That seemed less intimidating than writing my obit. Deciding on the particulars to include was an eye opener: just what was the appropriate material to express my personal feelings? What was I feeling specifically about my own death? Did I really want to know? What would I say now that I had the last word?

This is complicated; conventional wisdom dictates that the funeral or the ‘celebration of life’ is offered for the living, not the dead. Yet here I am planning something custom designed to my own peculiar tastes with little thought to the inclinations of those who may show up. It flips the occasion around. It makes the funeral all about me even though we say it’s supposed to be all about them.

An exercise like this may surface character deficits in ourselves we may not like. I drifted off on a tangent thinking who’d be at my funeral. Then I felt angry at the ones I decided wouldn’t, but whom I thought ought to be there. I was not doing this thing right.

In designing this solemn occasion, my narcissism surfaced with a vengeance. There it was, alive and well and ready to be snatched away, along with me, by the jaws of death.

Back to the drawing board. Just what is an obituary, anyway? What is it supposed to be about?

I conscientiously read the obituaries in a couple of papers printed in a week’s time. I looked for the common thread that ran through them. The announcement of a death was of course the primary purpose, a way to inform those in the community who’d once been part of the deceased’s life that this person was gone.

Almost all the obits included when and where the death occurred. It listed the deceased’s relatives. Some obits were brief statements notifying the death, but little information beyond that. They noted where services were being held and some indicating where memorial gifts could be sent.

Basic biographical material appeared, some including place of origin, education and employment.

I noticed two kinds of obits. One described the deceased’s career in detail and the contributions to the community. Others were more about the interests and activities that the deceased enjoyed, like art or gardening, fishing and hunting. For those who had high profile careers, the obit described their career at some length.

A few expressed an understanding of death in religious terms like, “was called home” or “went to the Lord.” “Passing away” or “departing this life” were the prevailing ways in which the death was described. “After a lingering illness” suggested that the dying had been a long process and hinted at the suffering endured by all involved. Several obits invited readers to share memories of the deceased and email them to the family.

How can anyone describe an entire life, including what that life meant to others, in the brief paragraphs of an obituary? There’s no way. At best, we can only allude to it.

In that regard, I noticed that in describing the deceased, two words appeared in several obituaries: the words, loving, and devoted. The words identified a particular quality of relationship to the deceased that the authors of the obituary wished to share with others. The appearance of those words created a tone, although because of the limits of an obit, in what ways they were devoted and loving were never developed.

When I considered how I would write my obit, I own, to my embarrassment, that I first thought of documenting my career accomplishments, professional and literary as the focus. I didn’t catch on right away what this implied about me and my life. Then it hit me: I was saying to the world, look at all I’ve done, or putting it differently, I am what I do or what I did.

I didn’t like what I was thinking.

Jack Kornfield, in his spiritual classic, A Path with Heart, begins the book by posing the question to readers, “Did I love Well?”

“Even the most exalted states and the most exceptional spiritual accomplishments are unimportant if we cannot be happy in the most basic and ordinary ways, if we cannot touch one another and the life we’ve been given, with our hearts,” Kornfield adds.

The challenge Kornfield poses in his book is to understand our lives not as status earned and achievements won, but as a way of being. Being devoted and loving aren’t achievements, but more like attitudes, and when seen over the full spectrum of a life, are all that matter at the end of the day. People who work with the dying document this over and over in the stories they hear from patients and relatives. One of the most common laments or regrets heard is that “I never said to this or that person how much I loved them, or conversely, never thanked them for the love they offered me.”

I think Kornfield captures the essence of our lives: that we live life to the fullest when touching one another and touching the life we have been given, with our hearts.

Columnist George Merrill is an Episcopal Church priest and pastoral psychotherapist.  A writer and photographer, he’s authored two books on spirituality: Reflections: Psychological and Spiritual Images of the Heart and The Bay of the Mother of God: A Yankee Discovers the Chesapeake Bay. He is a native New Yorker, previously directing counseling services in Hartford, Connecticut, and in Baltimore. George’s essays, some award winning, have appeared in regional magazines and are broadcast twice monthly on Delmarva Public Radio.

Mid-Shore Arts: The Other National Music Festival with WC’s Matt Palmer

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Perhaps to the surprise of many in Kent County, Chestertown is the host of not one, but two national music festivals. The better-known one that comes at the end of spring is the much-beloved National Music Festival. But the other, the Eastern Shore Guitar Festival, sponsored by Washington College’s department of music, should be looked upon locally with the same pride and excitement as its more famous counterpart.

For close to a decade, WC has been the host of this gathering of some of the best and most talented classical guitar performers today as they offer both concerts and learning opportunities for students eager to join their ranks. And the man leading the charge, professor Matt Palmer, a highly accomplished guitar player in his right, is genuinely pleased with the growing attendance and greater awareness.

The Spy spent a few minutes with Matt at Spy HQ in Chestertown last month to hear more the festival and what he has planned for next week as the Festival joins Washington College’s Concert Series is some unique offerings.

This video is approximately minutes in length. For more information and schedule details of the Eastern Shore Guitar Festival 2018 please go here.

Field Report: C’town Ambassadors Toast Wil Haygood’s “Tigerland” Kick-off in Columbus by Jeff Weber

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CTown folks-M.jpg> = L-R: Linda Reed, Airlee Johnson, Kathleen Weber, Patricia Pfeiffer, Lizzie Martin, Jeff Weber, Tom Martin, Vic Pfeiffer, Patrick Nugent, and Kathryn Boge

Ten Chestertown residents are still basking in the warmth of celebration and pride from their recent three day trip to Columbus Ohio, where they participated in the national book roll-out of ‘Tigerland’, authored by former Washington College 2017-2018 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow, Wil Haygood.
With open arms, Columbus, Ohio, welcomed back its native son, Haygood, and provided the host location for the introduction of his new book, ‘Tigerland: 1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing’. The book, released September 19, 2018, is set in Columbus’ then segregated East High School, which Haygood attended, and presents the remarkable accomplishments of the school’s all black basketball and baseball teams, both of which won State Championships during the 1968-1969 academic year.
Larry James, a prominent Columbus attorney, and to whom one of Haygood’s earlier works is dedicated (‘Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America’) sponsored a reception in Haygood’s honor the first night. Among the speakers were the past and current Mayors of Columbus, Ohio State University’s Athletic Director, and Chestertown’s own, Patrick Nugent, Deputy Director of Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. All the accolades coming Haygood’s way that night, were quickly deflected by him, and refocused on the former East High School players, coaches and even the Assistant Principal at the time, many of whom were present.
Patrick Nugent, spoke of Haygood’s time at Washington College, and the lasting impact he had on the College, its students and the Town of Chestertown. In preparing his remarks, Nugent had asked the students of Haygood’s Washington College non-fiction course, ‘Personal Memoir’, to share their thoughts and memories, and was able to recreate the heartfelt appreciation voiced by those students.
Columbus’ Lincoln Theatre was the focal point for the book’s National Launch on September 19th: interesting to note that Wil Haygood’s is the first name engraved in the Theatre’s ‘Walk of Fame’ monument. To an audience in excess of 300, several notable persons, including; the current Mayor of Columbus, Andrew Ginther, the President of Ohio State University, Michael Drake, and Judge Algenon Marbley, U.S.,District Court, Southern District of Ohio, spoke to Haygood’s achievements and recreation of the Tigerland story. The President of Miami University (Ohio), Gregory Crawford, shared a brief film of Haygood’s talk to the Class of 2022, for which Haygood received Miami University’s President’s Medal. Haygood, a Miami University 1976 alum, is currently their Visiting Distinguished Professor in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film.
While in residency last year at Washington College, Haygood was able to complete most of the ‘Tigerland’ book. Equally important, are the many friendships he created here in Chestertown. As Wil noted to one, he was greatly appreciative of the warmth and interest shown by the Chestertown community during his stay. Indeed, it was the extent of those personal connections formed in Chestertown that resulted in ten residents traveling to Columbus.
As an already accomplished author, prior to ‘Tigerland’, Haygood authored seven non-fiction books, among them ‘The Butler: A Witness to History’ (2013), which lead to the movie by the same name. This new book, ‘Tigerland’, recalls the compelling history of extraordinarily difficult times, yet provides a ‘feel good’ sports story (think of the films ‘Hoosiers’ or ‘Rudy’). Equally important is the story’s setting; the racially charged social climate of the late 60’s in America’s heartland and Columbus’ East High School. Haygood recreates the life-stories of the period’s characters, all worthy, he says, of earning covers on ‘Wheaties’ boxes’. His hope is that ‘Tigerland’ will bring ‘literary justice’ to them all.
Wil Haygood has started his tour to promote the book, and in familiar Haygood style, he’ll place all the emphasis on the players, coaches and other persons from the book’s 1968-1969 time frame. All who know Wil, know how genuine and sincere he is, and how he puts life and soul into recreating the sto ries and characters of his books, yet leaving plenty of room for contemporary friendships. For our part, the ten of us certainly felt proud to be a small part of the Columbus, Ohio events, and look forward to ‘the Tigerland Express’ visiting Chestertown later this year.
Wil Haygood is currently scheduled to speak at Washington College’s Hynson Lounge on November 15, 2018 at 5:30 PM. Also, next year, on March 21, 2019, Haygood is scheduled to speak at Kent County High School, which has adopted ‘Tigerland’ in the system’s ‘One School/One Book’ program. The program provides students, grade 8-12, with a copy of the book, and instructors with teaching opportunities, prior to attending Haygood’s talk.
Jeff Weber is the current treasurer of Main Street Chestertown and also serves on the boards of the Garfield Center and the National Music Festival. He is a periodic contributor to the Chestertown Spy.  

This Glittering World by Jamie Kirkpatrick

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Canyon de Chelly is a silent and mysterious place. It lies in northeastern Arizona, close to where the four corners of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico meet. More importantly, the canyon constitutes the heartland of the Navajo Nation, an area approximately the size of New England (more than 17 million acres) and home to the largest population of Native Americans—the Diné or “the People”—within the United States.

The Canyon has been inhabited for more than 5,000 years. In 1931, it was designated a National Monument and since then, Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Canyon de SHAY) has become one of our most visited national monuments. The Canyon is owned by the Navajo Tribal Trust and it is the only privately owned and cooperatively managed unit in the National Park Service. Tourists may visit the Canyon by driving along its north and south rims, stopping at one of the many overlooks; visits to the Canyon floor may be arranged by contacting a park ranger or a local Navajo guide. (About forty Navajo families still live on the Canyon floor, farming and tending flocks of sheep.)

Despite its stunning physical beauty, the Canyon has a sad and haunted history. In 1863, Colonel Kit Carson led federal troops into the Canyon, rooting out and killing many inhabitants while destroying homes, orchards, and livestock. Soon after, the demoralized Diné surrendered to the federal government and were relocated by a forced march (known in tribal lore as “the long walk”) to the Bosque Redondo, a desolate government encampment in southern New Mexico. (More than 2,000 Navajo died of disease and starvation on their tragic long walk.) The surviving members of the Diné remained at the Bosque Redondo in inhospitable and squalid conditions for five years before being allowed to return to their sacred Canyon and the surrounding tribal homelands.

The legacy of that bitter time remains palpably close to the surface today. It is exacerbated by high unemployment, alcoholism, and serious health problems caused in part by the extensive uranium mining that has occurred on tribal lands over the last fifty years. And yet the Navajo endure. In their own sacred creation story called the Nihalgai, the Diné passed through a time of darkness into three separate worlds of color—a black, a blue, and then a yellow world—before emerging into this fifth world, the one they call “this glittering world.” It is a verdant place, glittering because of the play of light and water, a timeless world that still exists on the floor of Canyon de Chelly today.

So why am I telling you all this? Maybe because we are fortunate enough to live in a glittering world of our own here in Chestertown. Or maybe because I feel that for the last two years and particularly for the last two weeks, I’ve been on a “long walk” of my own. I don’t know about you but I feel as though my world has not been glittering much of late, that I’m living in a polarized and inhospitable country devoid of much, if any, good common ground. But I think it’s time to go home. I’ll take my first steps back in a couple of weeks when I walk over to the firehouse and cast my vote in the midterm election. I hope you will, too. Maybe then, our world will start to glitter again.

I’ll be right back.

Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer with homes in Chestertown and Bethesda. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy magazine. “A Place to Stand,” a book of photographs and essays about Landon School, was published by the Chester River Press in 2015.  A collection of his essays titled “Musing Right Along” was published in May 2017; a second volume of Musings entitled “I’ll Be Right Back” will be released in June 2018.  Jamie’s website is www.musingjamie.com

Out and About (Sort of): Floored by Experience by Howard Freedlander

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A funny thing happened on the way to what I hoped would be a casual dinner with my wife and my daughter and her family eight days ago at a Stevensville restaurant.  As I awaited an appetizer, I fell backward. I ended up on the floor.

Subsequently I spent 18 hours at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. I never ate dinner. Nor did my wife.

I blacked out. I took the table with me as I fell to the floor. It was frightening. I was conscious.

The medical term for what I experienced is a “syncopal episode.” I fainted. I had no warning, as I repeatedly told the skeptical medical professionals.

I was not seeking attention. I got more than I ever would have imagined.

The 18 hours in the hospital were miserable. More so than losing control of my body and suffering a visible bump on my forehead from the table.

Waiting, waiting and waiting. The hospital regimen is frustrating. Answers are elusive. Communication is sporadic, particularly in an emergency room, often the pathway to further treatment.

So, why did I black out? The diagnosis pointed to dehydration and low oxygen. Because of my heart attack in 1993, this medical history loomed constantly in the background.

I underwent two CT scans, one to look at my brain (that’s intriguing) because of the bump on my forehead, and the second to view my lungs for a possible blood clot or, technically speaking, a pulmonary embolism. Both tests proved negative.

When I was discharged and released from all sorts of tubes, wires and monitors, I was instructed to go home to see my cardiologist for a two-week heart monitor. After all, I wouldn’t want to detach myself from medical inspection. The attention is unwanted but vital.

As I think back about my disrupted dining experience, I cringe. The thought of lying on a floor next to the bar area (our preference instead of the dining room to accommodate our restless grandchildren) haunts me. My wife and a waitress (a trained nurse) tended wonderfully to me before the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and ambulance arrived.

And the EMTs were professional and spot-on with their initial diagnosis. Kudos to the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department.

Despite my faint attempt at humor, I remain scared that a blackout could recur. Loss of control, at least in my case, was a sensation that I would like to avoid, if possible. I would like to address the underlying causes as diligently I can under medical supervision.

At the risk of chastising an excellent hospital, I believe that emergency rooms—which are handling very serious problems—are inherently chaotic. Doctors seem to be in short supply. When they do visit, the patient or family member must be prepared, first, to listen carefully, and, second, to ask
unemotional questions. The stress is palpable.

Registered Nurses (RNs), the unyielding backbone of any hospital, also seem to be limited in number. In both the ER and my room, I dealt with traveling nurses. Paid well, so I understand, they typically are extremely competent itinerant nurses who live outside the state, love to travel and provide a valuable service to hospitals throughout the country.

The incessant waiting typically involves the expected arrival of doctors and their words of wisdom. For impatient folks like me, waiting is just awful. Family members also suffer from living in limbo.

Like most others, I feel thankful for the medical treatment that I was fortunate to receive. I don’t want to seem impatiently ungrateful. The two doctors, three nurses, physician’s assistant and numerous technicians were undeniably capable.

My syncopal event was stunningly quick and immediately alarming. I hope it never happens again. I trust that if the episode were heart-related, I can do something about it.

I plan to eat dinner again at the Stevensville restaurant. Uninterruptedly and painlessly.

Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland.  Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He  also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer.  In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.

Mimi’s Closet Celebrates 10 Years in Chestertown

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Mimi’s Closet at 304 High Street, Chestertown, MD – Photo by Peter Heck

Mimi’s Closet celebrates its 10th anniversary from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10, with an open reception at the High Street store. Owner Marjorie Adams said the event will also be a benefit for Breast Cancer month, with pink wine, pink ice cream, and a pink bath bomb with a surprise inside. And there will be music and oysters. “This will be a thank-you to all our friends and customers for patronizing our store and supporting my business through ten long, arduous years at three locations,” she said with a laugh. “This one’s the charm, though.”

Margery Adams, better known as Mimi to the granddaughter who gave her the nickname and to her loyal customers at Mimi’s Closet.

Admas grew up in New York and Connecticut.  She graduated with a specialty in fabric design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, the premier college in the field.  One of her early–and most fun–jobs, she said, was decorating the windows at Macy’s Department Store in New York City.  Over her career, she has also been the marketing director for a Baltimore firm and the American representative for Ehrman’s Tapestry as well as owning a retail store in Easton for several years.

She is married to Walter Adams and they have two sons and four grandchildren. They fell in love with Chestertown after visiting for an anniversary.  They bought a second home locally in 1998 and moved here full-time in 2001.

Adams said, “I started my business in the worst year possible – 2008 – as a popup store which maybe should have been in existence only six weeks, and now has turned out to be ten years.”

But our store has changed considerably – not only the location but what we carry, because we’re a small town and we try to address every price point and every type of customer – every age group, every body type. We specialize in women’s clothing and accessories – we don’t do children or men. We have a small area where we sell shoes. It’s just sort of an all-around boutique – jewelry, handbags and shoes, dresses – and we try to change things up so often that you’re seeing something new every time you come in here.”

We try to be sensitive to everybody’s budget,” she said. “We encourage our customers to come in, even with something they own and have it updated or made to look better.” She added that this isn’t a question of alterations, but of finding ways to accessorize or complement it to give it a more contemporary look. She said she likes to offer things from small boutique designers that you might not find in online venues or department stores. And she offers a lot from American designers. Also, she tries not to duplicate lines available in other stores in town. “We try to be very sensitive to that – it’s a small universe here for shoppers.”

Smart fall outfits with a wealth of hats and other accessories are displayed against a colorful wall hanging on the brick wall in Mimi’s Closet, 304 High St., Chestertown, MD  –  Photo by Jane Jewell

She also buys small quantities, she said – “We try to buy one size run, so you don’t see yourself coming and going. If you’re going to a special event, you want to have something that’s unique and different.” She said she regularly goes to Fashion Week in New York and other industry shows to find new lines and distinctive items for the shore.

Adams’ first store in Chestertown was in a small space adjacent to the Imperial Hotel. She said in an email forwarded to the Spy by Kay MacIntosh of Main Street Chestertown, that she stayed there “until the building repairs and food odors from the hotel prep kitchen made me crazy! I moved to a very nice space on Cannon Street and thought that customers would follow. I was wrong! The building was the former home of the Chester River Knitting Company and was a great space but did not have display windows to showcase my inventory, and too many people thought that the shopping area ended on Cross Street and they did not venture further.” She added, “It did not help that we were in a recession.”

When the High Street space formerly occupied by Scottie’s Shoe Store became available, she recognized it as the opportunity she had been looking for – a prime space on the town’s main shopping street. She said, “Renovation to this space—the old Scottie’s space — was critical; nothing had been done to improve it for many years. The building owner, Bob Ramsey, was committed to a full renovation and hired my husband to do the work. We moved into the new space and it was as if I had just started a brand new business.” Its success allowed her to close a store in Easton and concentrate on Chestertown.

Debbie Yoder, an assistant at Mimi’s Closet, displays a beautiful brown suede jacket just in for the fall season. – Photo by Jane Jewell

As you can see, this was quite a journey over the past ten years,” she said. “I have had to adjust to the fact that we are not a major metropolitan shopping area but are a small and very special destination. The key was to have both a local and visitor customer base that would show up more often looking for a unique experience. I focus on lots of personal interaction that makes the customer know that their business is valued.”

The name of the store comes from Adams’ granddaughter, now 18 years old, who, as a small child, nicknamed her “Mimi.”  Now everyone knows her as Mimi!

Adams, whose background is in textiles, said she is very aware of the quality of the fabric used in the merchandise she sells, as well as the quality of construction and the fit. “I don’t think it’s necessary always to go to the top price point, but you’ve got to find the quality in the fabric and the way a garment is made and the way it fits.”

Colorful, classic kimonos are available as well as sporty, outdoors styles. — Photo by Jane Jewell

MacIntosh said of Adams, “She gets involved in community causes and events.  She has held fashion show fundraisers for the College’s Women’s League, the Soroptimists, and breast cancer research. She organizes and runs the wildly popular teas during the HP Fest and has helped in other areas such as sponsorships. She organizes and runs the High Tea for the Dickens Weekend. She is active in the Downtown Chestertown Association, which she now serves as VP.”

Whether you’re a regular customer or visiting the store for the first time, come by Mimi’s Closet at 307 High St. Wednesday, Oct 10, from 6-8 pm and help celebrate a successful downtown Chestertown business.

And be sure to check out her webpage and FaceBook.   Send an email to mimiscloset@atlanticbb.net to join the Mimi’s Closet mailing list or just to ask a question.  The phone number is 443-282-0225.

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Delmarva Review: The Philosophy of Stars: A Personal Essay by Gail Overstreet

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Three years ago, I watched as my best friend, my father, gulped down a giant, salted caramel cookie the size of a dinner plate. His face flushed with toddler-like eagerness, crumbs littered his chin on down to the neat, knit collar of his polo shirt. Dad took full advantage of the fact that my stepmother wasn’t there in the Barnes & Noble café to order him a sensible turkey sandwich for lunch.

He was no longer able to drive, and I was still stinging from the 20-minute diatribe he had just unleashed on me due to my missing the correct highway exit in his new town; a town I didn’t know. Unaccustomed to these new and frequent emotional outbursts, I felt rattled.

I tell him to wait for me in the café while I go to the ladies’ room. When I return three minutes later, he is gone. Hastily I explain to the café clerk that my Dad has dementia, and did she see which way he headed? Seeing my panic, she joins me in my frantic search. We find him a long five minutes later, wandering aimlessly on the other side of the store, looking for something or someone.

It would be our last outing together, as a pair.

Most stars have companions; they are bound together by mutual gravity. When paired, stars orbit around each other, with one star typically more gaseous while the other is more rocky. The forces of gravity between them can cause the younger, more gaseous star to gain mass and shape from the older, denser star. Like water swirling around a drain, their orbital gravity allows for the transfer of basic components of a star – gasses, space dust, rocks – and for the younger star to begin to solidify under compression. This compression progressively generates extremely high temperatures within the core of the star-under-construction – known as a protostar – which ultimately leads to fusion. In other words, a star in its infancy through youth evolves from a nebulous, gaseous form, becoming more solid, partly through deriving material from a mature star in its orbit.
Eventually, the younger star graduates from its protostar status, fusing into a fully-baked star in its own right.

My Dad and I were a pair from the start. Fresh out of the Navy in 1965, where he served as an intelligence officer, Dad would spend the next 40 years as a civil engineer drafting plans for the construction of large airports and seaports. When I was in elementary school in the 1970s – while my older brother, in emulation of Swiss Family Robinson, spent all his time playing outside in tree houses or exploring the weedy vacant lot at the end of our road – I would sneak into the den of our modest, Easter egg-yellow ranch house in suburban San Diego. I sat on my Dad’s spinning bar-style chair with the burnt sienna-orange vinyl seat, situated at his drafting table. My legs dangled off the high seat, careful not to disturb any of the drawings he’d been working on. I gingerly fingered the drawing paper; it felt semi-stiff and made a crinkling sound under my light touch, the delicate corners and edges curling up slightly. My eyes traced the outlines of buildings, walls, parking lots. The comforting Dad-scent of his smoky aftershave lingered on his desk pad and drafting pencils.

While he drew, I played on the floor around him, sometimes peeking over his shoulder, wondering if when I grew up I would have my very own drafting table, too. Between his projects, I would experiment with the see-through green, circle-shape drafting templates – struggling with my too-small fingers to keep the hard-plastic mechanical pencils pushed firmly, but not too roughly, against the sharp, beveled edges of the circle shapes, lest the lead would break off – pretending to draw plans of (mostly circular) buildings.

Now, Dad seems light years away from me.

The Earth is continually turning, making it tricky for astrophotographers to track objects in deep space and successfully make clear, sharp images of them. Stability is everything in astrophotography; moving the scope even a few inches can translate into millions of miles off-target once the instrument’s view hits deep space.

For this reason, a telescope has two cameras: the first camera is aimed at the Target Star (or “object”) that the astrophotographer wants to make an image of, while a second camera is aimed at the Guide Star.

A Guide Star serves as a single fixed point in the sky, a reference point. Once the first camera’s shutter opens, the light sensor inside it starts collecting light data from the Target Star. At that point, the sensor in the first camera becomes overwhelmed with bright light, and the view of the Target Star through the astrophotographers camera software goes blank.

A Guide Star is your anchor, your reassurance. You know where you are in time and place in the vast universe. It is home base.

When I was in college, my Dad relished my experience along with me. He was a true intellectual, his mind engrossed by many subjects, delving deeply into the sciences, literature, the arts. Raised in rural farming communities, he diverged from the family and immersed himself in books and music whenever he could, lying in grassy fields on sunny afternoons as a young boy, hearing musical compositions form in his head as he gazed into the vast, blue California sky. My two brothers didn’t go to college, but rather pursued careers in the trades. So, when I finally found my way to Berkeley as an English undergrad in my late twenties, my father was overjoyed.

Dad had bypassed his desire to study music, instead going to school for a professional degree in civil engineering. He envied my study of the Classics, and philosophy, and timeless themes of war, love, redemption, and coming home. Every Sunday, we gathered on the phone, our exclusive club of two. We joked about how we might save the world with the help of Voltaire, Shakespeare, and Homer. After I took my last two final essay exams back to back, my mind happily exhausted in an adrenaline- fueled afterglow, I called Dad.

Once I got into the working world, Dad said, I might never have these moments again – the “high” from intellectual rigor, for the sheer joy of it. Treasure them.

There are observable regions of space that contain hundreds of galaxies, which consist of billions of stars. These galaxy neighborhoods occur due to the expansion of mutual gravity. That is, the more galaxies there are the more gravity that is generated both between pairs of galaxies and among galaxies as a larger group – with the gravitational pull accelerating at an astonishing pace. In fact, “gravity rules” could be the official tagline of how deep space operates – it’s like a giant game of bumper cars up there.

Gravity is how stars are created from their infancy, as protostars. Gravity is what keeps our Earth moving around the sun. Gravity is what will cause the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies to collide into each other a projected four billion years from now.

And in these galaxy neighborhoods, gravity is what causes these astral bodies to orbit each other, and even steal stars from each other if they can get close enough.

Thirteen years ago is when I first noticed. Dad was 65, and we had both traveled to Ohio for a week of festivities before my little brother’s wedding. We were driving around town, having no luck finding bagels to bring back to the group. Pulling up to the third potential restaurant, my dependably even-keeled Dad shouted: “Let’s just get some damn food!”

A jolt of shock coursed through my body. I glanced over at my father, who was staring straight ahead, as if in a trance. I froze, trying not to cry – bewildered by this stranger sitting next to me.

A year later, everyone else noticed. During a family lunch, Dad repeated something he said just 10 minutes earlier, like it was a new thought. My siblings and I froze, our sandwiches and mouths hanging in mid-air. We shot startled looks at each other, as if one of us would deliver the punch line.

Months later, those ten-minute gaps turned into five minutes, a year-and-a-half after that, one minute. During that time, my stepmother relayed the doctors’ findings. First was “atrophy of the hippocampus” (the center of emotion and memory in the brain), which quickly progressed to “moderate” dementia. Then, from the memory specialist’s report: “The severity of his memory impairment is suggestive of an evolving Alzheimer’s disease.” It all happened so fast – once the gravity of the disease took hold the acceleration was astounding, stealing memories by the minute.

A few months ago, I presented my father with a pine cone from the Giant Sequoia, the largest trees in the world, gathered near the mountain home in California that my new husband and I just moved into. I explained how these cones are a rare find since they only typically drop during powerful mountain storms, or an intense wildfire when the tree is under great heat stress. Usually, these cones stay tucked away at the very top of these ancient trees, which can grow as tall as 300 feet and live up to 3,000 years.

Dad glanced at it for about a second, puzzled, then dropped it on a side table, mumbling “Um…OK. Thanks?”

The engineer-father I once knew would have analyzed that pine-cone for hours, noting the exquisite design of its diamond- shaped scales. He would have traced the geometry of the cone with his fingers, observing where the outer scales joined the core, and where the core joined the stem. He would have considered how functionally astute this tree was, protecting its seeds deep inside its tightly closed orbit.

My Dad will never see our new home. He doesn’t remember my husband between our visits to see him and my stepmom in Florida. He doesn’t remember that I now live in California, just up the mountain from where his family farmed the San Joaquin Valley for decades starting in the late 1930s, refugees from the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma. He doesn’t remember that I went to Berkeley, or the constellations of hours-long conversations we had about what I was discovering and learning, or that he came to see me there.

And one day, he won’t remember me.

Comets are loners. They are trapped within the sun’s orbit, accelerating as they get closer to it, the sun’s gravity exerting great centrifugal force. Unlike stars, comets do not easily reveal which way they are headed.

Even a comet’s orbit is different from a star’s. Elliptical, like an oval, instead of circular as with stars, comets are much more unpredictable. A comet’s movements, direction, and whether it will someday crash into the sun – or be able to escape the sun’s massive pull and free itself – ultimately remains a mystery.

Many comets are like Comet Catalina, which we are now seeing from Earth for the last time. It has gotten just close enough to the sun to take advantage of its centrifugal force, and be propelled out of our solar system forever.

Soon, it will cross a threshold and escape from us. Maybe it will linger a bit longer in the liminal space between our solar system and what lies beyond it. Or, maybe it will go out in a blinding blaze, gone in a flash.

However it goes, we will know it is still out there, blazing its trail in the deep corners of space, just out of our sights.

Gail Overstreet’s essay in the 10th edition of Delmarva Review has been selected as a “Notable” essay in “The Best American Essays 2018.” Ms. Overstreet received her MA in writing from Johns Hopkins University. She is a teacher and astronomer and lives with her husband at 5,000 feet elevation in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, near their astronomy observatory. Her work has appeared in National Geographic: Sierra Nevada Geotourism, Orion, and other publications.

Delmarva Review is a national literary journal with regional roots. In it’s eleventh year, the nonprofit journal publishes compelling new prose and poetry from authors within the region and beyond. It is supported by individual contributions, sales, and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. For information and copies, visit: www.delmarvareview.com.

Bobby Lippincott: Oxford’s Native Son Takes the Helm at Star Worlds

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To get a perspective on the significance of the Star Worlds race going on in Oxford this week, serious sailing experts point to the fact that many of the America’s Cup winners first tested their skills on these twenty-three-foot boats to prepare for that ultimate test. With a design going back to 1910, all competitive sailors have a special reverence for the Star class as well as the men and women who travel the world to win one of the sailing community’s most demanding and coveted prize.

The fact that this truly international event, with more than sixty boats entered from around the globe, finds itself on the Mid-Shore after being hosted in places like Miami, San Diego, and Buenos Aires, has delighted tiny Oxford with hundreds of sailing crew and fans planning to attend. But no one in Talbot County is more thrilled than Bobby Lippincott.

The grandson of a Star boat designer, with family members winning silver and gold awards going back to the 1940s, with one annual race actually called the Lippencott Memorial, this native son of Oxford, finds himself in a once in a lifetime opportunity, after years of painstaking training, demanding travel, and expenses, to compete in his hometown and keep a remarkable family legacy going as the third generation of Lippincotts takes the helm.

The Spy talked to Bobby at the Tred Avon Yacht Club last week on the Star Class, the Lippincott history, and his devotion to keeping this unique sailing heritage alive and well.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. To follow the Star Worlds competition please go here for the latest results.